Water Portrait is an imaginative series of digital illustrations infused with captivating augmented reality animations. Through these illustrations, I seamlessly blend 3D-modeled human portraits with various water forms, highlighting critical environmental issues such as contamination, ecological justice, coal ash problems, and more.
Employing surrealist techniques, I use striking color contrasts and vivid hues to create an otherworldly portrayal of the union between humans and water. The AR animations add another layer of depth to this series, seamlessly incorporating motion and text to heighten the overall viewing experience.
To create this mesmerizing effect, I converted the original artwork's color scheme into a grayscale and employed the 'leave color' technique to enhance specific elements, ultimately exporting the animation into different video layers for a truly immersive 3D AR experience. Audiences can simply scan the illustrations using an app to access the full range of animation effects on their screens, bringing these vital environmental issues to life before their very eyes.
The illustrations were all designed in Adobe Photoshop. For making the animation, I imported the PSD file into Adobe After Effect, and made animation with different image layers. After making the animation, I split them into 3 layers and exported the videos. Finally, I imported the videos and illustration into Artivive to make the AR animation.
Some thoughts when I was experimenting with different AR platforms:
For the beginning of the AR development for my project, I focus on which platform or techniques that could be easier and efficient for my development. As an artist, I mainly focus on what kind of interactive experience that the platforms or techniques could provide, the accessibilities, the prices, the limit of import materials and size for uploading, and whether they are friendly to those who have less AR development experience. In terms of consideration, I categorize the platforms or techniques into three groups.
First, for personal AR experience development, lots of developers recommend people to use Unity to develop an AR Application. It is totally Personalized and also the best choice to develop complex interactions like making an AR game. However, accessibility is a big problem. The audience needs to install the application on their devices to gain experience but not all people are willing to install an external application, which they cannot download from Apple Store or Google Store. Thus, it is not suitable for my need.
Second, using the software for AR development is more accessible for the audience. Although the audience still needs to have the application installed on their devices, they can download them through Apple Store or Google Store which are much more reliable. For example, Spark AR, an application I experiment with is developed by Facebook, and it is free. It allows people to create lots of interactions, face filters, AR world experience, even a simple AR game since it is programmable. Developers could public their outputs to Instagram and Facebook, and the audience could through a link directly get to the AR effect. Moreover, Artivive, another platform that I experiment with is mainly focusing on letting the artist create AR experience for their artworks. Artists could upload their image as the trigger and the videos that they hope to be shown by AR. The design of its function is very friendly to the artist and audience. For viewing the AR effect, the audience just needs to download the Artivive application through Apple Store or Google Store and use it quickly to see the effects in the galleries or museum. Artivive is not free, but the prices for me is acceptable. However, developing based on these platforms usually have limits for the uploading materials. According to Spark AR, if you want to public your AR effect on Instagram， you should not let the project file larger than 4M and you cannot use video materials in the software. Even though you could insert jpg/png sequences, no matter how small the size of your image, it only supports including 11-13 pieces for the animation sequences if your project wants to be public. The software will automatically resize your image to fit the devices, so even you could import small images, it will not change the limits. For Artivive, it only supports uploading 3 videos in their 3D/Pro creation panel, which is also limited for people who want to make a complex 3D animation. What’s more, Artivive also has a maximum on the uploading image/video size, and it is not supported for importing 3D models. However, for this project, the functions that Artivive provides are already reached what I want. So, I finally choose Artivive.